Category: working mama (Page 1 of 13)

PPD & The Working Mom

PPDHeads up, this is an old post I wrote years ago when Ollie was an infant. It is no longer online so I am reposting it to help new moms. 

Hi. I’m Brandy and I have suffered from postpartum depression/anxiety…twice. I had no idea how to start this post so lets just shine light on the elephant in the room right off the bat (holy cliche sentence, Batman).

Being a mom is hard…working or not. We can all agree there. I can gladly state that the newborn phase of my children is the hardest (so far). While I don’t doubt my ability to mom or how good a mom I am, I know I have struggled with both Landon and Oliver as new babies. I also had great support to help me…and I know not everyone has that. As I stated in other posts, life at home isn’t for me. The colic. The crying. The long days of getting nothing done. The second time around was a little better knowing that it was a finite thing until I went back to work but still very isolating and scary at times. It wore me down.

I am willing to admit all this but I think some moms struggle with that. Sometimes that struggle is just a small nagging but sometimes it is more. Sometimes the long days with little sleep and so much frustration build and build. As hard as you want to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is really faint. You get angry over little things and no amount of deep breaths help. You break one day and scream at your kid and then bawl your eyes out at what you did. People telling you “it gets better” mean nothing because while you know they are right, you want it better NOW.

What made it better for me? Going back to work.

As insane as that sounds, it has done so twice. With 6 years of self reflection, I know this is because of how I am wired. I thrive on achievement, if not over-achievement, and meeting goals. I have my dream job where I get to create and discover every day. So to go from that to a shower being my biggest accomplishment for the day? SUCKS! I thrive at work. I get to do what I love…create and help people. I get to work with amazing people. And? I GET TO SIT DOWN. I get to go to the bathroom without someone crying. I don’t have to put some one to nap and then wait to see if they actually will. There is routine that HAS to happen. We have to be at work at X…so crying or not, it will happen. Once we get home, I have X amount of time until I can drink relax. Everything is calculated out and predictable(ish). Yes, I have more on my plate with a full time job but I can think about something other than sleep schedules and poop colors. It gives me balance.

A few weeks after I went back to work, I went to see my therapist. She could see the difference when I walked in the door. She was pretty amazed. I no longer needed my anxiety meds.There are still the calls from daycare you dread but it is part of the gig. The next day brings something new…not just more of the same.

This post was spurred by this post on Huffington Post that I related to instantly. Another mom who found relief in the working world. I wanted her to know she wasn’t alone. I write this to show it is possible, as crazy as it sounds, to add more to your plate to make it better.

Have you dealt with PPD/PPA? If so, how did going back to work affect you? Better? Worse?

PSA: If you are struggling after your baby is born, even later on, please talk to your doctor. It is nothing to be ashamed of and completely normal. You may just have a case of baby blues but it could be more. Take care of yourself.  If you want to read other stores, please check out Postpartum Progress. I am also happy to answer any emails, tweets, etc if you need help. – Brandy

Why Daycare is More Than OK

It is no secret I love daycare. They have taken great care of my boys. They teach them tons of things in ways I couldn’t dream of. They teach sharing where I can’t really do the same peer to peer lessons at home. They make best friends and I have even made mom friends myself. I could, of course, go on but that’s not my point here. My point is that I don’t view daycare as something I had to settle for. Sometimes readers will ask “how did you make the decision to go back to work and send them to daycare?” or the more abrasive “How do you send your kids to get looked after by a stranger?”And after I flip a table at the later, I say, “I never really considered the other, honestly.”

Read More

Formula AND Pumping, Not OR

formulaHappy World Breastfeeding Week, everyone! With the celebration this year, the healthcare center at SAS asked me to participate. I went on camera and talked about my journey a little. When I was contacted about doing it, I jumped at it and asked if I could speak to a specific issue: formula and pumping. I did both with both my kids and while I don’t regret a thing, I always felt kind of alone. I felt like I was forging my own journey. There was little out there for support.  You are usually sifting through info from 2 vastly different sides. Either you exclusively breastfeed or just give formula and while neither is bad, it isn’t your only choice. The biggest group of moms this seems to effect is working moms. You go down a VERY common path. You start work and quickly see how hard it is to make those bottles. You pump and pump. You take from your maternity leave stash. You are living pump to pump. Then? Daycare says “he could use bigger bottles” and you heart sinks. How?

So a few years ago, while I was in the throws of this for the second time, I wrote a post I am reviving below. It is still relevant for new moms struggling to figure out that magical machine in a bag. Here ya go, mama…

Read More

4 Ways to Finding Your Mommy Soul Mate

IMG_0096Or at least some mommy friends. Over the years, I’ve had a lot of questions via Twitter and e-mail about how to find new mom friends. How to start a conversation at the park, how to get people to not think you are crazy and how to find that parent (and kid) that you can just relax around. Basically how to date again…but this time you are trying to find new friends in a new landscape.

Read More

Baby sleep…it gets better

sleepI am going to blame SAD for the influx of traffic to my 4 month sleep regression post. It’s cold. It’s dark. New moms are stuck inside with babies who won’t nap. “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, BABIES?! THIS IS PERFECT NAPPING WEATHER!” they scream…into a pillow…of tears. I get it.

Hang in there.

I didn’t have the cold but I had the blistering heat so I can tell you, you start to get creative. GET OUT OF THAT DAMN HOUSE. Strap them to you and go join the old folks for mall walking. Jostled baby to sleep, burning calories, walk up baristas and all the Werther’s candy you can stand! Don’t buy white Reebok sneakers. You’ve gone too far.

But seriously…it’s going to be ok. This sucks but you will make it. They WILL sleep again. They WILL stop screaming all the time. You are not doing anything wrong. And to prove it, even 2 years after I wrote that post, my friend Katie is right there with you. Go give her a hug, why don’t ya.

“Then, it’s 2am, and Harper woke up to practice rolling over, and was talking and then crying, and then talking some more, and then pooped. I changed it, then put her back down, and then was wide awake and so I was re-reading about Wonder Week 19 and there I saw it.

She is not starving, she is just distracted, and all of this dumbness is related to this big developmental leap…[keep reading]”


Did you land here from researching ALL THE BABY SLEEP THINGS?! Welcome to motherhood…the insanity never ends. Here are some more of my sleep resources from over the years. God speed.

Sleep When the Baby Sleeps – and other saying that make me wanna punch kittens

Wonder Week 19 aka 4 Month Sleep Regression – the motherload

A Journey in Sleep Training – how we faired with Oliver

First Daze and Nightzzz: A Sleep Coach Interview – a look into the life of a sleep coach

Newborn Tip of the Week {Sleep Tip}

The Holy Grail of Sleep – why I value sleep so much

Sleep sacks – Why we had our kids in sleep sacks until over 2

Bringing Home Baby to Your Baby – This we did when we added a kid

CTFD – learn to calm down about parenting or it will make you crazy

I Am Not A Baby Person – how I don’t like babies…and that’s ok

The Mental Health of Motherhood – take care of yourself


Hola, Kindergarten

We are now a few weeks into Kindergarten and getting our feet under us. It hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns but I think we have weathered the transition pretty well. I worried about him going to a whole new environment…like more than I usually worry. I am a pretty confident person and even I get nervous in those situations.

The “Worries”

If you followed me on social media, you saw our issues with drop off anxiety. This was the only negative thing we heard about school. The first week I could walk him to his class. Then on that Friday, we got a message saying starting Monday, we couldn’t anymore. I totally understand why…I guess just a little more warning would have been nice. When I told Landon this Monday in the car pool line, he freaked out. So much so that I dropped him in the line and he cowered on the sidewalk. I hurried, parked and ran back to walk him in the door. I can walk him to his hall but he had to walk to the class alone. Phew…not good. I finally got the counselor to walk him and he just looked like a deer in the headlights. That week? It was awful. Every day he would start worrying about it the minute we got in the car. The more I tried to talk about it, the worse it got. So I ignored it. I got teachers to take him. It was rough. I polled Facebook and got a variety of ideas. He is a goal oriented kid…incentives are the name of the game. So my neighbor said she gave her daughter a piece of candy to hold. She was allowed to eat it once she got to the classroom (she is also in the same class. “Oh Lilah has candy too! You should ask her what kind!). So before school we stopped at the gas station and I bought a pack of skittles. I put 4 little skittles in his hand and he giggle-sprinted down the hall. WELP! It is still not perfect but I am slowly going to work my way out of the school at drop off. Baby steps.

But this has shown us a good bit of anxiety in him in general. It is a work in progress. I am reading books on how to help him cope without making it worse. Luckily it doesn’t seem to be about school academically but more just the social transition. Honestly hard to tell because he has a hard time explaining what he is worried about it. We are externalizing the anxiety to “worries” and I am going to work at teaching him how to “fight the worries” and learn to relax. Laura recommended this book and it is already helping me look at it differently.

The Spanish

The Spanish immersion is going REALLY well. This was my main worry…that he would get in there and just be overwhelmed but I really don’t see it. He is starting to get excited when he knows new words and whispers them to me when I get home. It’s so cute. I catch him singing the songs a lot and he even asks if we can read and watch things in Spanish. These first months it is a lot of gesturing and songs. His teacher has her masters in Dramatic Education so she uses song, dance and role play to convey concepts.

Different than standard kindergarten, they don’t learn the alphabet in order. They start with vowels because those are the harder things to understand since Spanish is so phonetic. They also don’t do like the “Letter land” that is the curriculum here in Wake county because…well they have a different alphabet.

His homework it pretty simple at this point. He alternates each day between language arts and math. The language arts is writing the words he sees and associating with the image. Also working on rhyming. The math is pretty standard counting of objects and such. He smokes the math in seconds every day. It’s not even a challenge. Lulz.

The New Routine

As for the routine, I prepared myself for much worse but I have to say I am loving our new little groove. I think in the grand scheme, this allowed us to give him the extra attention he needed. We have made the decision to drop off and pick up every day. Thankfully we work at a great place* that allows us the flexibility. I am working from home in the morning before school and doing drop off and Kevin goes in earlier with Ollie and leaves earlier to pick him up.  This allows us to actually spend MORE time with Landon that we were with him in daycare.  Kevin gets homework done, washes the lunch box stuff and starts dinner. THAT’S RIGHT!!!! I HAVE A HOUSE HUSBAND!!!! It’s the bee’s knees. I am planning the week’s meals on a board in the kitchen and buying the groceries. He makes it. BOOM. Ollie and I get home around 5:30 and dinner is usually ready or almost done. It’s the best. He gets to have some quiet time without boys fighting and can cook and I DON’T HAVE TO DO ALL THE FOOD THINGS!!!! I make Landon’s lunch at night and whamo.

I’m sure there is plenty to come but right now we are grinding along in our new lives and doing pretty well. Muy Bein!

So you wanna start running…

3579018740_b251523263_bI get a lot of questions about running…especially in fall when it isn’t 5000 degrees. How do I do it? Where do I do it? When can I do it? The short answer is that it’s never the same for any one person but I have seen plenty of “I wouldn’t run unless zombies were chasing me” people turn into runners.

For me, running is the best workout.  Not from a sweat and blood mentality, but a time and balance one.  I can fit a run in my day much easier than most workouts. I get time to myself or I can use it to socialize with friends. I get to listen to my music that’s not You Gabba Gabba and most importantly, I feel powerful in all my roles: Woman, Wife, Mama, Working Gal…so here goes nothing.

Find a Friend

I started by walking with a friend who had a new year’s resolution to walk everyday at lunch. That was it. Then once it got to about March, we decided we were walking as fast as we could and wanted to cover more ground. One day, we just ran until we were tired. I lasted about 6 minutes.  In a week, we made it 10. And so on. We slowly worked up and decided to shoot for our company 5K on National Employee Fitness Day in May. My first time was around 38 minutes. I had to walk some hills but I did it. I have never looked back.

Moral of the story here: friends make it easier.

Having a workout partner to be accountable to makes a HUGE difference. Find a friend or even find a group to join. I use to volunteer for a group last fall for women only here in the Triangle (NC). It was a couch to 5K and a lot of cheerleading.  Seeing those women cross the finish line at the end was tear jerking. All sizes and shapes. Moms, grandmas, single ladies: all working together to accomplish a personal goal. We made new friends and reconnected with old. It is the ultimate in a woman community. So look in your area for running groups and if you are shy, look for an all women’s group. A lot of fitness stores have programs throughout the year for training for a 5K, 10K or half marathon. These are great places to meet people to motivate you. No one is there to make you look dumb or make fun of you.  You are all in it together.

Start Slow

I think many people struggle with how to get started and not crash and burn. Of all exercise routines, you can really do that here. Don’t go out your front door day one and say, “I am gonna run a mile.” Then you get six minutes in and start dying, you give up. You say “running isn’t for me.” Incorrect. You just started off too hard.   A tried and true method many beginning groups use is the Galloway Method or any type of intervals. Start off running AND walking. Over time, you run more and walk less. This is actually a great way to burn calories by varying your heart rate and gives you more sense of accomplishment.  Many people run marathons this way. Don’t be shy about it…you aren’t alone :).

Another analogy I love from my super running cheerleader cousin Sarah is being a penguin.  She read this book and was inspired. You don’t have to be the fastest.  You are already doing more than most people…speed doesn’t matter.

Finding Time

The glory of running is being able to fit it in. Also you don’t need to run for an hour.  Running 30 minutes is HUGE and then? You’re done. And then in that 30 minutes, you have burned calories, had time for yourself, talked with a friend or even listened to new music. Here are ways I fit in runs:
  • Get up. It takes getting used to but being up at 5am alone is kind of awesome…once I roll out of bed.
  • If I can carry clothes in my car, I can run at lunch time or right before I leave for the day.
  • If the kids are napping and the husband is home, I can run then.
  • If we are looking for something to do on the weekends, the whole family can head to the local greenway.  The dog and I can run around the lake and dad and kids  visit ducks or go play at the playground.

Other Help and Motivation

While looking around for information for this post, I found some great sites to help get you going and motivated:

So get those running shoes on! Time to get fit!



Yesterday you turned 5. Whoa. Just whoa. You are so awesome. You really are. For the few times you make me want to run from the house screaming, you redeem it with your loving spirit and comedic timing. You love Legos and hate to lose. You despise lemon on things and ask for plain Kale. Some days I REALLY just wanna spend doing cool things with you. I am learning to soak it up more.

For your birthday, I took off work and we went and got donuts. We built Legos. You went shoe shopping with Grandmommy. We went to the movies and saw How to Train Your Dragon 2 in the theatre where we could eat lunch. We came home and built more Legos, played Trouble and went swimming together. You wanted Chick Fila for dinner so Chick Fila we had. We all curled up and watched an over-allotment amount of screen time before bed because you and Ollie snuggled together and I am a sucker.

This Friday is your last day of daycare. I will cry. There is no denying that. You have had an amazing journey there since you were about 8 weeks old. Not gonna front, you were loved super hard by all your teachers. Brackett, Julie, Kim, Jackie, Melissa, Krista, Ashley, Brynn, Susan, Jacki, Sara, and Nicole. They still seek you out for snuggles and about 80% of the time I pick you up being tickled and hugged by one of them. It’s gonna be hard to leave them…probably way more than it will hurt you. They are my safety net and I have never EVER worried about you at school. They even called you on your birthday to sing you happy birthday. <3

But at the end of the month, you will go off to the unknown of kindergarten. Not only that but Spanish kindergarten but I have faith in you. We’ve met 2 girls that will be in your class and you are already comfortable just introducing yourself and playing right off the bat. You don’t shy away from meeting new people and I hope that bodes you well. I won’t get the same updates to know when you have bad days and when you need a little more patience from us. I’m prepared for the transition mind melt. But you seem excited and ready. We have your backpack, lunchbox and supplies. Once again I think it is just the fear of the unknown for us all and I think you will have it down pat before we do.

You love drawing and pretend. Your favorite centers are construction and art space. You can actually draw really well I think and I am forever saying “whoa you made that?” You are perfecting your humor. How to phrase things. How to catch on to what we laugh at and use it again. You question EVERYTHING. If we are talking at dinner and not to you, you always ask what we are talking about. If we laugh, you want to know why. You are trying to figure out the world and it’s so enchanting.

Your love for your brother never subsides. You want to make him happy. If he cries, you try to make him feel better. You try and bargain with us on his behalf when you think our parenting sucks. You help him. Even on your birthday and he wasn’t around, you wanted to make sure you saved things for him. Part of your breakfast donut, a toy from Target because you got one and even making sure his pool toys were ready when he got home. Your teachers say you even say you are taking things home to him and draw him pictures. You guys are so close yet so far apart at these ages but you are making him such a good person. Ollie is more considerate lately and I think a lot of that is you. You show kindness and sharing and he can only reciprocate.

So you are so grown up now. We feel the tug to hang onto the little kidness as well as force you to be out on your own. You still say you don’t know how to put on socks but you can figure out video games better than me. We love you Lando…so freakin much. We think 5 is gonna be awesome.

Love, Mom

School Lunches: Getting Organized

One thing that has come up in tips from folks for packing lunches is to make lists of options to keep you out of ruts. Some people even gave the lists to the kids before shopping for the week and let them decide. You can always keep adding to the list as you think of cool things and reference each week. So I started some lists.



I’m sure I am missing something but this was a good start for me while the kids napped this weekend. There will also always be leftover options that I wouldn’t have listed. I feel much better after writing it all down. I even perused my boards I have been keeping of non-sandwich options. IF ONLY HE WOULD EAT HARD BOILED EGGS!

So what would you add?

You can find this in PDF form here.

Kidlet Dinners – Kindergarten is Coming

4 weeks until the big day comes. Landon is off to kindergarten and with that, a loss of homemade warm lunches each day.

We’ve gotten lucky to have such a great daycare arrangement for 5 years. He gets 2 healthy snacks and lunch each day. They’ve expanded his palate (turkey curry!). They’ve found his new loves and dislikes. We are going to miss it, for sure.

So I made the decision to pack Landon’s lunch. I know he eats healthy options and I plan to keep that up as much as I can. If he starts to ask to buy lunch, we will reassess but right now this is the plan.

pbkWhat’s the plan?

I thought about this for a good while. After Laura wrote this post for me years ago, I have been conscious of excess waste and how I wanted to avoid that. So I asked around and looked and ultimately pulled the trigger one day when I got a Pottery Barn kids sale email. I went with their bento box option that fits perfectly into his new Darth Vader lunch box (which he earned for having an AMAZING week a daycare one week).

So far it has worked really well. Yes, the price gut punches you but I waited for a deal email and also realized how much I save in sandwich bags. It is dishwasher safe and really keeps all the compartments separated. Some more veteran moms say that by about 4th grade or so, their kids needed more food but for Landon, I find the sections very deep and plenty for him.

Some worry about the clasp being too hard for him to open but I had him try and he did just fine…but I think he has been asking his teachers to do it. I need to work on this more but I know he CAN.

It is hard to see in the photos but they are really solid. There is nothing flimsy. I can imagine maybe the first thing to give would be the hinge of the little door section but hard to tell since it isn’t like you are opening and close it constantly.

Big plus? Dishwasher safe. Sits right in our top shelf. and yes, we basically run the dishwasher daily in this piece.

How about the routine?

To practice a bit, I have been packing his lunch one day a week for a few weeks now (I am still paying for food at school so I ain’t dumb). This has given me a chance to see how easy/hard it is to throw it together in the normal routine, what are some fun options he likes and just get us in a little bit of a habit.

This has also helped gauge how much he will eat of what I send. His teachers have let me know how much is left (very little). He also likes bragging. Joy.

My best timing is throwing together stuff is while I am making dinner. Like when something is steaming in the microwave, I can make a wrap and cut up veggies. I’ve only done it once where I have to do it in the AM and it wasn’t terrible either. My goal is easy foods. I’m lucky that my kid like raw veggies and fruit, so it helps a lot there. Also I am still queen of leftovers.

What’s on the menu?

So here is a few options we have tried out over the weeks. I can say they were pretty easy to whip up.



Chick fila nuggets (leftover from Ollie’s birthday), cheddar bunnies, cherries, red peppers, celery and a fruit leather stick for treat.


Pizza wrap (pepperoni, cheese, peppers), pretzels, carrots, green peppers, strawberries and fruit snacks for treat.


Turkey, kale, carrot, pepper and cheese wrap with hummus, saltines(he loves), cheddar bunnies, blueberries, pears and fruit snacks for treat.


Turkey, cheese and hummus wrap, kale salad, cherries, freeze dried peas, and yogurt raisins and fruit stick for treat


Turkey, cheese and kale wrap, steamed broccoli, blueberries, cherries, pretzels and fruit snacks for treat.

So yeah we have a lot of turkey but it is usually by request. I realize I can’t give him that every day but whatever. Some ideas I have that should be easy:

  • quesadillas
  • english muffin pizza
  • noodles with grilled  or tempura chicken
  • tacos

So what are you serving up that is a hit and quick? Anymore questions?

Page 1 of 13

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén